Book Review Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Patient Safety/Clinical Care

Building a High-Reliability Organization: A Toolkit for Success

“Building a High-Reliability Organization: A Toolkit for Success” is an extremely valuable resource for anyone seeking to make their health care facility safer for patients.  Much has been written about becoming a high reliability organization (HRO) and the desirability of such a designation. Unfortunately, the achievement of the goal of high reliability is elusive for many facilities.

The authors of “Building a High-Reliability Organization: A Toolkit for Success,” second edition —  Gary L. Sculli, MSN, ATP; Douglas E. Paull, MD, FACS, FCCP, CHSE; and David Sine, CSP, ARM, CPHRM, DrBE – pull the entire concept into an integrated toolkit that is both comprehensive and concise. It provides a roadmap that organizations can follow to achieve high reliability.

One notable feature of the book is its focus on leadership.  In this context, leadership is treated as an overall concept, not simply the C Suite. Innumerable leaders are found throughout health care, from the C Suite to the individual floors and units. Leadership at the front lines of an organization is key to the success of the facility as a high reliability organization. This book helps guide nurses, charge nurses, department managers and others in the hierarchy in how to successfully lead their teams to achieve safe and effective patient care.

Updated for 2019, the book’s second edition provides methodology intended to improve processes and standardization across organizations. Through the use of checklists, the authors demonstrate how situational awareness and structure can be created, leading to the HRO goal of preventing adverse events and errors. Additionally, the second edition includes significant new information about Just Culture, much of it based on the national Just Culture program that author Gary Sculli started in 2016.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who works in a health care facility, whether they are considering working toward the hospital becoming an HRO or are well on their way to achieving that status. 

John C. West, JD, MHA, DFASHRM, CPHRM, is a principal with West Consulting Services, LLC and the author of “Case Law Update” in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management.

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